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TBR News July 5, 2019

Jul 05 2019

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. July 4, 2019:

“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.

When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.

I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.

He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.

He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.

His latest business is to re-institute a universal draft in America.

He wants to do this to remove tens of thousands of unemployed young Americans from the streets so they won’t come together and fight him.

Commentary for July 5:”Trump, trying to suck up to the Jesus Freaks, is considering a bill stopping gay marriage, getting them thrown out of the military and a number of other negative actions. The man, and I use the word lightly, is a cognitional anus who loves to torment people and create havoc throughout the world, but only if his fat gut is displayed all over television. The Jesus Freaks are even more vicious and they and all of the, the Trump family as well, ought to be left, buck naked, on Antarctica ice in mid-winter.”

The Table of Contents

  • Iran threatens British shipping in retaliation for tanker seizure
  • Flight of fancy: Trump claims 1775 revolutionary army ‘took over airports’ 
  • Deutsche Bank’s uncertain road to recovery
  • Donald Trump and Deutsche Bank
  • Biased and wrong? Facial recognition tech in the dock
  • We Made A List Of All The Anti-LGBT Stuff Trump Has Done As President
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

Iran threatens British shipping in retaliation for tanker seizure

July 5, 2019

by Parisa Hafezi

Reuters

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened on Friday to seize a British ship in retaliation for the capture of an Iranian supertanker by Royal Marines in Gibraltar.

“If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker,” Mohsen Rezai said on Twitter.

The Gibraltar government said the crew on board the supertanker Grace 1 were being interviewed as witnesses, not criminal suspects, in an effort to establish the nature of the cargo and its ultimate destination.

U.S. President Donald Trump, while not specifically mentioning the supertanker incident, repeated a warning to Tehran: “We’ll see what happens with Iran. Iran has to be very, very careful,” he told rep

British Royal Marines boarded the ship off the coast of the British territory on Thursday and seized it over accusations it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria. They landed a helicopter on the moving vessel in pitch darkness.

The move escalates a confrontation between Iran and the West just weeks after the United States called off air strikes on Iran minutes before impact, and draws Washington’s close ally into a crisis in which European powers had striven to appear neutral.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said, “We welcome international partners’ resolve in upholding and enforcing these sanctions.”

Tehran summoned the British ambassador on Thursday to voice “its very strong objection to the illegal and unacceptable seizure” of its ship, a move that also eliminated doubt about the ownership of the vessel.

THIN LINE

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said the crude oil cargo was from Iran. The ship’s paperwork had said the oil was from neighboring Iraq, but tracking data reviewed by Reuters suggested it had loaded at an Iranian port.

European countries have walked a thin line since last year when the United States ignored their pleas and pulled out of a pact between Iran and world powers that gave Tehran access to global trade in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

Over the past two months, Washington has sharply tightened sanctions against Tehran with the aim of halting its oil exports altogether. The moves have largely driven Iran from mainstream markets and forced it to find unconventional ways to sell crude.

The confrontation has taken on a military dimension in recent weeks, with Washington accusing Iran of attacking ships in the Gulf and Iran shooting down a U.S. drone. Trump ordered, then canceled, retaliatory strikes.

With nuclear diplomacy at the heart of the crisis, Iran announced this week it had amassed more fissile material than allowed under its deal, and said it would purify uranium to a higher degree than permitted from July 7.

The Grace 1 was impounded in the British territory on the southern tip of Spain after sailing the long way around Africa from the Middle East to the mouth of the Mediterranean, a route that demonstrates the unusual steps Iran appears to be taking to try to keep some exports flowing.

“WARNING THE IRANIANS”

The Gibraltar spokesman said the 28-member crew, who have remained on board the supertanker, were mainly Indians with some Pakistanis and Ukrainians. Police and customs officials remained on board the vessel to carry out their investigation, but the Royal Marines were no longer present.

While the European Union has not followed the United States in imposing broad sanctions against Iran, it has had measures in place since 2011 that prohibit sales of oil to Syria.

Gibraltar said on Friday it had obtained an order extending the detention of the supertanker by 14 days because there were grounds to believe it was breaking sanctions by taking crude oil to Syria.

Shipping experts say it may have been avoiding the more direct route through the Suez Canal, where a big tanker would typically be required to unload part of its cargo into a pipeline to cross, potentially exposing it to seizure.

Olivier Dorgans, an economic sanctions expert at Hughes Hubbard & Reed law firm in Paris, said the British move appeared intended to send a warning to the Iranians that if they pushed on with their nuclear breaches, European countries would act:

“This was done for political effect. The British are warning the Iranians.”

Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris and Lesley Wroughton and Alexandra Alper in Washington; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Janet Lawrence and James Dalgleish

 

Flight of fancy: Trump claims 1775 revolutionary army ‘took over airports’ 

Historical blunder in July 4th speech compounded by mixing up war of 1812 with war of independence

July 5, 2019

by Kate Lyons

The Guardian

Donald Trump made an awkward blunder during his speech on Independence Day, praising the army, which he said “took over the airports” from the British during the revolutionary war in the late 1700s.

Trump made the mistake during his hour-long speech at the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC as part of his 4th of July “Salute to America” celebrations, which saw him become the first US president in nearly 70 years to address the country on Independence Day.

In a departure from his usual style of rambling, impromptu speeches in which the president lurches between topics at high speed, Trump gave a surprisingly scripted address in which he outlined the history of Independence Day, American achievement in various fields, and then paid tribute to each branch of the military in turn.

During his tribute to the army, Trump said: “In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York … The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware, and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

“Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.”

As listeners were quick to point out, air travel did not occur in the US until early in the 1900s. The Wright brothers, whom Trump praised earlier in his speech, are credited with flying the world’s first plane in 1903.

However, this was not the only historical confusion in this section of Trump’s speech. As astute listeners picked out, the battle of Fort McHenry occurred during the war of 1812, and not the American revolutionary war which took place several decades earlier.

 

Deutsche Bank’s uncertain road to recovery

The German lender is planning to cut thousands of jobs and shed whole business lines as part of a major reorganization. Analysts say cost cutting alone is not going to rid Deutsche Bank of its current woes.

July 5, 2019

by Ashutosh Pandey

DW

Less than a decade after giving its US rivals — then reeling from the global financial crisis — a run for their money, Deutsche Bank is significantly scaling back its global ambitions.

The troubled German lender is planning to cut 15,000 to 20,000 jobs — about a fifth of its global workforce — as Chief Executive Christian Sewing seeks to stop the bleeding at the lender’s beleaguered investment banking division, which contributed more than half of the bank’s revenue last year.

The bank is also in talks with Citigroup, BNP Paribas and others to sell parts of its once-prized US equities business, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The business posts annual pre-tax losses of €200 million ($225.8 million) to €300 million, according to a JP Morgan estimate.

Deutsche, which was the world’s biggest bank by assets at its peak, is reported to be working on setting up a so-called bad bank to house between €30 billion and €50 billion of riskier assets.

The measures are part of Sewing’s efforts to turn around the investment bank, which has struggled to post sustainable profits since the 2008-09 financial meltdown and has seen its share price tank to record lows, hit by a succession of scandals, regulatory troubles, higher funding costs, talent drain and a failed merger with smaller rival Commerzbank.

DBK’s [Deutsche Bank’s] equity operation has been underperforming its peers, as well as other part’s DBK’s IB [investment bank] for an extended period,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note to clients. “We would see downsizing of equities as acknowledging a new revenue reality, rather than a preemptive move.”

The analysts estimate that the planned job cuts, which will mainly affect Deutsche’s investment banking division and its US unit, will help Deutsche save €1.9-2.5 billion in costs but would lead to a “meaningful” loss in revenue. The job cuts would also yield between €1 billion and €4 billion in restructuring charges, they said.

The restructuring is expected to delay further some of the bank’s goals, including achieving a return on tangible equity — a key profitability target — of 4% this year. Deutsche reported a return on equity of 0.5% in 2018 compared with JPMorgan’s 12.6% and Citigroup’s 9%.

Lack of high-return platform

Most analysts reckon that getting rid of expensive staff and downsizing loss-making businesses is a step in the right direction for Deutsche, valued at just a quarter of book value. But they warn that job cuts alone will not restore the lender’s health. After all, successive Deutsche CEOs have axed staff in an unsuccessful bid to rein in costs and shore up profits.

“Strategic end-game as yet unclear, to us,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note to clients. “We continue to see Deutsche Bank’s main strategic challenge as being the absence of a high-return platform.”

Deutsche is pinning its hopes on its transaction banking — the best-performing division at Deutsche for several years now — and asset management divisions.

In May, Sewing told investors that Deutsche had “frequently paid too little attention” to its transaction bank, which facilitated financing for companies’ global trading activities and manages cash for firms and governments.

Deutsche’s ambitions for transaction banking are likely to be tested in an increasingly difficult global trading environment driven by a rise in populism globally. The bank will also have to deal with competition from nimbler fintech companies, which have driven down margins by offering faster and cheaper payment services.

Sewing is also pivoting to the bank’s asset management business, separately-listed DWS group, which contributed less than 10% of the lender’s revenues in 2018. The chief executive wants DWS to become “one of the world’s top 10 asset managers” — an ambitious target in an industry which is becoming increasingly crowded as more and more banks scale down riskier activities in favor of managing the rapidly growing wealth.

Deutsche’s plans could get a boost if it finds a partner for DWS. The bank has held talks with Swiss bank UBS Group about merging their asset management businesses. The merger talks are said to have stalled.

Retail banking roots

With the scaling back of its investment banking operations, a lot of Deutsche’s success would depend on the performance of its legacy retail banking division, which generates the bulk of its revenue from Germany.

The business has struggled to grow amid cut-throat competition in the crowded home market and negative interest rates.

After years of indecision over the fate of its Postbank unit, which it acquired in 2010 and sought to dispose in 2016, Deutsche Bank now intends to integrate it with its own retail business with the aim of saving at least €900 million annually.

“The Retail Banking franchise is large and performs well, but it has been underexploited in the past so there is definitely some potential there, which can only get better with the Postbank integration,” Fitch analyst Patrick Rioual told DW. “Although the German market is highly competitive, retail is an area offering stronger opportunities for banks to earn money in Germany. If Deutsche manages to streamline its product offering and continues to cut costs, it should be able to mitigate the pressure that comes from competition and low interest rates.”

Ratings agency Fitch downgraded Deutsche’s long-term debt last month, citing “difficulty and limited progress in improving its profitability and stabilizing its business model.” It said its outlook for the bank was “evolving,” reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Deutsche’s reorganization efforts.

Achilles heel

One of Deutsche Bank’s biggest problems has been its antiquated technology infrastructure. The lender has lagged behind its rivals in investing in IT upgrades.

“If Deutsche Bank is to escape from mediocrity, it will need substantial investment, especially in technology: its vast spaghettilike heap of ancient IT systems seriously impedes its ability to compete with newer, more nimble entrants,” banker-turned-financial-writer Frances Coppola wrote in a column for Forbes business magazine.

“Sadly, the level of technological investment that is needed does not seem to feature on the management’s agenda,” she wrote.

 

Donald Trump and Deutsche Bank

by Christian Jürs

Trump is not an honest man by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. He has a long record of bankruptcies, business failures, very dubious business practices and extraordinarily negative behavior to staff and other employees. To catalogue the full sweep of a flood of patently dishonest business allegations against Donald Trump would require thousands of words and lump together the trivial, the blatently criminal with the truly scandalous.

Certainly, the psychological personal profile of Donald Trump could hardly be better tailored to being easily turned by a hostile intelligence agency.

The concept of Trump taking bribes from the Russians (or the PRC) is completely understandable if one applies the concept of Occam’s Razor to the tumult and disruption he is deliberately causing both domestically and in foreign areas.

Russian intelligence agencies are known to have highly compromising and often bizarre sexual material on him going back more than 30 years and they have used Trump and his elaborate network of business entites as a funnel for laundering dirty money from the Russian mafia and from post-Soviet oligarchs. The Russians are well-known to have more than enough compromising material on Trump to bend him to their will.

Trump has constantly been engaged in bribings and manipulations and has done this through second parties such as Cohen his former lawyer or Manafort, his recently convicted campaign manager, during the election.

Following Mr.Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed very large sums of operating capital from Russian sources. He also obtained large loans from the Deutsche Bank (over 640 million dollars)

Other big banks, domestic and foreign, have long refused to lend to him, coining the term “the Donald risk” to refer to his repeated bankruptcies and failures to repay loans. However, Deutsche Bank, whose real-estate division continued to lend him hundreds of millions of dollars to finance his projects, seemed to have a greater risk appetite. There is a solid connection and on-going business between this bank and two Russian-based banks.

The remarkably troubled recent history of Deutsche Bank, its past money-laundering woes — and the bank’s striking relationship with Trump — became the subject of investigation by the German State Attorney’s office. The German bank loaned a cumulative total of around $2.5 billion to Trump projects over the past two decades, and the bank continued writing him nine-figure checks even after he defaulted on a $640 million obligation and sued the bank, blaming it for his failure to pay back the debt.

  • Deutsche Bank’s private wealth unit loaned Trump $48 million — after he had defaulted on his $640 million loan and the bank’s commercial unit didn’t want to lend him any further funds — so that Trump could pay back another unit of Deutsche Bank.
  • Deutsche Bank loaned Trump’s company $125 million as part of the overall $150 million purchase of the ailing Doral golf resort in Miami in 2012. The loans’ primary collateral was land and buildings that he paid only $105 million for, county land records show. The apparent favorable terms raised questions about whether the bank’s loan was unusually risky.
  • To widespread alarm, and at least one protest that Trump would not be able to pay his lease obligations, Deutsche Bank’s private wealth group loaned the Trump Organization an additional $175 million to renovate the Old Post Office Building in Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel.

Like Trump, Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized for its dealings in Russia. The bank paid more than $600 million to regulators in 2017 and agreed to a consent order that cited “serious compliance deficiencies” that “spanned Deutsche Bank’s global empire.” The case focused on “mirror trades,” which Deutsche Bank facilitated between 2011 and 2015. The trades were sham transactions whose sole purpose appeared to be to illicitly convert rubles into pounds and dollars — some $10 billion worth.

The bank was “laundering money for wealthy Russians and people connected to Putin and the Kremlin in a variety of ways for almost the exact time period that they were doing business with Donald Trump,” “And all of that money through Deutsche Bank was being channeled through the same exact legal entity in the U.S. that was handling the Donald Trump relationship in the U.S. And so there are a lot of coincidences here.”

It wasn’t just Donald Trump who maintained a warm relationship with Deutsche. The German bank looked after his entire family. Jared Kushner, Ivanka, and Kushner’s mother Seryl Stadtmauer were all Deutsche clients.

The large German financial conglomerate Deutsche Bank, later to become one of Donald Trump’s favored institutions, became entangled with Russia after the bank bought boutique investment bank UFG in order to gain entry into Moscow’s financial markets. UFG’s chairman, Charles Ryan, was an American banker; his partner was Boris Fyodorov, formerly Russia’s Finance Minister in the Yeltsin administration. Deutsche’s future co-CEO, Anshu Jain, was the one who wants Deutsche to become more involved with Russia. Other investment banks soon found Deutsche’s business practices suspicious. Christopher Barter, at the time the CEO of Goldman Sachs Moscow, said later: “They were doing some very curious things. Nobody could make sense of their business. We found the nature and concentration of their business with VTB (Vneshtorgbank) quite galling. Nobody else could touch VTB.” VTB was known to be deeply connected to Russian intelligence, the FSB.

An issue was a very large sum of money that Trump borrowed from the German bank in 2005 to fund the construction of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. Trump had personally guaranteed to repay the $US640 million ($828.7 million) debt.

Since then, a global financial crash had arrived. Trump had defaulted on payment, with $US330 million still outstanding. In late November 2008, Deutsche was seeking an immediate $US40 million from the tycoon, plus interest, legal fees and costs.

In 2010 Trump settled his feud with Deutsche. This was done, extraordinarily, by borrowing more money from … Deutsche Bank.

1,300 Trump condominiums have been sold to Russian-connected buyers. Even a cheap Trump condo costs over a million dollars, so there over 1,300 condos that meet all the criteria for what is normally called money laundering. Russian intelligence is using Trump real estate to launder money

In 2008 his son, Donald Trump Jr., said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.

Trump and his entourage have made a significant number of trips to Russia in the past (a list of these along with Russian personages he was in contact with can easily be found on Google), seeking financing and permission to build luxury hotels in that country

Russian intelligence owns Wikileaks entirely and released the damning, and authentic, ‘Podesta papers’ concurrent with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in coordinated agreement with the Trump people. This did serious damage to her campaign and was a major contributory factor to her narrow defeat and Trump’s election to the presidency.

Trump’s actions, as President, are deliberate efforts to alienate both the putative allies of the US such as Germany, France, and Canada and, to a lesser degree, Mexico. Also, the tariffs suggested by Trump against China would result in retaliation by that country and many retail outlets in the United States would be forced to close because they would be unable to purchase Chinese-made goods, the bulk of their stock.

Trump has deliberately launched pointless, and destructive, attacks against Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as Canadian, Chinese and German imports. All this has done is to create a highly negative image of his persona primarily and secondarily, the global image of the United States. This is only to the benefit of Putin’s Russia, not the United States.

Trump’s tariffs, and threats of tariffs, have engendered counter-tariffs that will, when implemented, create serious economic problems for American businessmen and, eventually, the American public.

Trump’s politically foolish but calculated support of the Israeli far right has done, and is doing, serious damage to the US image in the Middle East. It should be noted that Russian influence in the Shiite areas of the Middle East, is growing. Also note that Iran, and parts of Iraq, both Shiite, have extensive oil reserves and that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state, once America’s primary source of badly-need oil, is running dry. Further, his aggressive support of Israel is resulting in increasing antisemitism in the United States.

The Middle East areas where Russia now has growing influence, have oil and if Russia sets itself up as major oil merchandising source, this will give them tremendous economic leverage vis a vis the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of oil and its by-products.

By alienating America’s allies and disrupting that country’s social structure, Trump benefits only Russia and its interests.

When he is caught at this, and it is common knowledge that the FBI was deeply interested in his Russian connections long before he ran for President, either the American public will have to deal with another Dallas or Trump will suffer a fatal heart attack. Vice-President Pence, a Christian fanatic, would then have to be told to mind his manners or suffer similar terminal problems.

Trump is very well aware of the ongoing and growing official investigation into his denied but completely genuine Russian connections and is certainly also well aware of what they can find, and probably have already uncovered, so he initially fired the head of the FBI and even now, according to a very reliable source, is determined to replace the FBI with the cooperative CIA (their former head, Pompeo, is now Secretary of State) as the sole foreign and domestic intelligence agency. He, and his Russian intelligence handlers, want to nip any FBI revelations in the bud so that Trump can continue on his course of castrating the United States as a global power to the benefit of Putin’s Russia.

There was a full page ad that he took out in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Washington Post in 1988, putting forth foreign policy points that could have been dictated by Vladimir Putin. It was an assault against NATO, and the European Union, both anathema to Russia

In 2015, Western European intelligence agencies in France and Germany began picking up solid evidence of communications between the Russian government and people in Donald Trump’s orbit. In April 2016, one of the Baltic States shared with then–CIA director John Brennan an audio recording of Russians discussing funneling money to the Trump campaign. In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, head of the U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, flew to Washington to brief Brennan on intercepted communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.

During the Soviet era, Russian intelligence cast a wide net to gain leverage over influential figures abroad. (The practice continues to this day.) The Russians would lure or entrap not only prominent politicians and cultural leaders, but also people whom they saw as having the potential for gaining prominence in the future. In 1986, Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin met Trump in New York, flattered him with praise for his building exploits, and invited him to discuss a building in Moscow. Trump visited Moscow in July 1987. He stayed at the National Hotel, in the Lenin Suite, which certainly was known to be bugged

Throughout his career, Trump has always felt comfortable operating at or beyond the ethical boundaries that constrain typical businesses. In the 1980s, he worked with La Cosa Nostra, which controlled the New York cement trade, and later employed Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom have links to the Russian Mafia. Trump habitually refused to pay his counter parties, and if the people he burned (or any journalists) got in his way, he bullied them with threats. He also used LLCs which he created for the purpose of swindling firm who, for example, laid new carpet in one of his hotels. The vendor billed the LLC which promptly went bankrupt. This has been a favorite gambit of Trump.

Trump continually acts like a man with a great deal to hide: declining to testify to anything under oath, dangling  Presidential pardons to keep potential witnesses and former employees from incriminating him, publicly chastising his attorney general for not quashing the whole Russian investigation, and endorsing Russia’s claims that it had nothing to do with the election. (“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!” he tweeted last month, contradicting the conclusion of every U.S. intelligence and counter-intelligence agency.) Trump’s behavior toward Russia looks exactly like that of an accessory after the fact.

When, and not if, it becomes public knowledge that the President of the US is an agent of a foreign power, it would be the worst scandal in American history, far surpassing Tea Pot Dome or Watergate.

In conclusion, it is clearly obvious that President Trump was jobbed into his office with the full cooperation of Russian intelligence and that he is currently engaged in efforts to carry out their political global programs which, if allowed to continue, will wreak economic and political havoc on the American government, business community and public.

And consider that the United States has been harassing Vladimir Putin’s Russia economically and causing considerable problems for that country. Mr. Putin’s reactive countermeasures aganst the United States are certainly in response to these actions and in the long view, far more effective than sanctions and hysterical threats.

 

Biased and wrong? Facial recognition tech in the dock

July 5, 2019

by Matthew Wall, Technology of Business editor

BBC News

Police and security forces around the world are testing out automated facial recognition systems as a way of identifying criminals and terrorists. But how accurate is the technology and how easily could it and the artificial intelligence (AI) it is powered by – become tools of oppression?

Imagine a suspected terrorist setting off on a suicide mission in a densely populated city centre. If he sets off the bomb, hundreds could die or be critically injured.

CCTV scanning faces in the crowd picks him up and automatically compares his features to photos on a database of known terrorists or “persons of interest” to the security services.

The system raises an alarm and rapid deployment anti-terrorist forces are despatched to the scene where they “neutralise” the suspect before he can trigger the explosives. Hundreds of lives are saved. Technology saves the day.

But what if the facial recognition (FR) tech was wrong? It wasn’t a terrorist, just someone unlucky enough to look similar. An innocent life would have been summarily snuffed out because we put too much faith in a fallible system.

What if that innocent person had been you?

This is just one of the ethical dilemmas posed by FR and the artificial intelligence underpinning it.

Training machines to “see” – to recognise and differentiate between objects and faces – is notoriously difficult. Computer vision, as it is sometimes called – not so long ago was struggling to tell the difference between a muffin and a chihuahua – a litmus test of this technology.

Timnit Gebru, a computer scientist and technical co-lead of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team, has shown that facial recognition has greater difficulty differentiating between men and women the darker their skin tone. A woman with dark skin is much more likely to be mistaken for a man.

“About 130 million US adults are already in face recognition databases,” she told the AI for Good Summit in Geneva in May. “But the original datasets are mostly white and male, so biased against darker skin types – there are huge error rates by skin type and gender.”

The Californian city of San Francisco recently banned the use of FR by transport and law enforcement agencies in an acknowledgement of its imperfections and threats to civil liberties. But other cities in the US, and other countries around the world, are trialling the technology.

In the UK, for example, police forces in South Wales, London. Manchester and Leicester have been testing the tech to the consternation of civil liberties organisations such as Liberty and Big Brother Watch, both concerned by the number of false matches the systems made.

This means innocent people being wrongly identified as potential criminals.

“Bias is something everyone should be worried about,” said Ms Gebru. “Predictive policing is a high stakes scenario.”

With black Americans making up 37.5% of the US prison population (source: Federal Bureau of Prisons) despite the fact that they make up just 13% of the US population – badly written algorithms fed these datasets might predict that black people are more likely to commit crime.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out what implications this might have for policing and social policies.

Just this week, academics at the University of Essex concluded that matches in the London Metropolitan police trials were wrong 80% of the time, potentially leading to serious miscarriages of justice and infringements of citizens’ right to privacy.

One British man, Ed Bridges, has launched a legal challenge to South Wales Police’s use of the technology after his photo was taken while he was out shopping, and the UK’s Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has expressed concern over the lack of legal framework governing the use of FR.

But such concerns haven’t stopped tech giant Amazon selling its Rekognition FR tool to police forces in the US, despite a half-hearted shareholder revolt that came to nothing.

Amazon says it has no responsibility for how customers use its technology. But compare that attitude to that of Salesforce, the customer relationship management tech company, which has developed its own image recognition tool called Einstein Vision.

“Facial recognition tech might be appropriate in a prison to keep track of prisoners or to prevent gang violence,” Kathy Baxter, Salesforce’s architect of ethical AI practice, told the BBC. “But when police wanted to use it with their body cameras when arresting people, we deemed that inappropriate.

“We need to be asking whether we should be using AI at all in certain scenarios, and facial recognition is one example.”

And now FR is being used by the military as well, with tech vendors claiming their software can not only identify potential enemies but also discern suspicious behaviour.

 

We Made A List Of All The Anti-LGBT Stuff Trump Has Done As President

The White House claims Trump is “supportive of LGBTQ rights.” Here’s a list of the actions his administration has taken to roll back those rights.

June 30, 2019

by Dominic Holden

Buzz Feed News

When Donald Trump ran for president, he pledged he would be an LGBT ally, even carrying an “LGBTs for Trump” rainbow pride flag at a rally in 2016. Shortly after he reached the Oval Office, the White House announced, “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights.”

It hasn’t worked out that way.

This is now the second year Trump has gone without acknowledging LGBT Pride Month. But more critically, Trump and his administration have aggressively rolled back and fought against LGBT rights.

For the end of Pride Month, BuzzFeed News has compiled a list, based on our reporting from the past 17 months, of those anti-LGBT efforts. They include:

  1. Saying it’s legal to fire workers for being transgender.

Last October, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed a federal policy that said transgender workers were protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This new position runs contrary to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — a federal agency — and numerous federal courts, which have found Title VII does protect transgender workers. For example, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in March that Title VII protects transgender workers even if the employer raises a religious objection.

  1. Arguing that it’s legal to fire workers for being gay.

The Justice Department made an unexpected move last July when it stepped into in a major federal lawsuit to argue the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t protect gay workers from discrimination. The Trump administration’s filing was unusual in part because the Justice Department wasn’t a party in the case, and the department doesn’t typically weigh in on private employment lawsuits. Further, the Justice Department was fighting against a separate, autonomous federal agency that had supported a gay man’s case. The court ruled in favor of LGBT rights, but the Trump administration hasn’t reversed its stance that it’s legal under federal law to fire employees for being gay.

  1. Making transgender female prisoners live with male prisoners.

The Bureau of Prisons rolled back rules May 11 that had allowed transgender inmates to use facilities, including cellblocks and bathrooms, that match their gender identity. The Trump administration was reversing course on an Obama administration effort to protect transgender prisoners from sexual abuse and assault. Federal officials now “will use biological sex” to determine the type of housing transgender inmates are assigned, resulting in conditions that increase the likelihood of rape for transgender women. The administration won’t explain how they will determine who is transgender and who isn’t.

  1. Telling the Supreme Court that shopkeepers can turn away LGBT customers.

In a surprise move last September, the Trump administration supported a Christian bakery owner in Colorado who refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. The Justice Department filed a brief at the Supreme Court that argued the baker’s religious convictions allow him to sidestep Colorado law, which bans businesses from anti-LGBT discrimination. US Solicitor General Noel Francisco also took up argument time at the Supreme Court’s oral hearing in December to support the baker, even though the federal government wasn’t a party to the case.

  1. Withdrawing protections for transgender students.

Weeks after taking office, the Trump administration withdrew guidance that said Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 bans anti-transgender discrimination in federally funded schools. That Obama-era policy had said transgender students must be treated in accordance with their gender identity in classes, sports, and school facilities. As such, it instructed schools to give transgender students access to gender-appropriate restrooms and locker rooms.

  1. Refusing to investigate anti-transgender discrimination complaints in public schools.

In April 2018, the Education Department told BuzzFeed News that it wasn’t investigating or taking action on any complaints filed by transgender students banned from restrooms that match their gender identity. Up to that point, Trump administration officials had simply said they were still considering the whether Title IX covered transgender students. Officials did not answer questions about how the department reconciles its new position with circuit court rulings that conflict with their position. The Education Department also hasn’t said why it won’t accept complaints arising from students inside those circuits (which encompass Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin).

  1. 7. Trying to kick transgender people out of the military.

In July 2017, Trump announced he would ban transgender people from serving in the military in any capacity, thereby reversing a policy created under the Obama administration. He claimed he had consulted “[his] generals” and determined that transgender people would harm troop readiness. But his top general wasn’t consulted, and federal courts found no evidence to support the president’s claims. One judge called the president’s claims “capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified,” and added they were “shocking.” Four courts blocked his ban, but the Justice Department is still fighting to enact it and the Pentagon has issued recommendations on how to fully implement the policy

  1. Issuing a religious liberty policy.

Attorney General Sessions instructed federal agencies and attorneys in October to protect religious liberty in a broad, yet vague, guidance memo that critics fear could give people of faith — including government workers and contractors — a loophole to ignore federal bans on discrimination against women and LGBT people. The memo says officials should construe the Constitution and existing federal law in favor of religious rights. Sessions was asked by Congress in October if the guidance would allow federal employees and federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT people, but Sessions refused to answer.

  1. Starting to rescind protections for transgender patients.

After a US District Court judge in Northern Texas blocked the Obama administration’s protections for transgender patients and women seeking abortions, the Trump administration stopped defending the rules. The Department of Health and Human Services rewrote the policy, which is currently pending at the Office of Management and Budget.

  1. Declining to appoint an LGBT liaison for the White House.

Trump doesn’t have an LGBT liaison at the White House, a position that previously served under president Barack Obama as a conduit between the executive branch and organizations — and individuals — when decisions were made on LGBT policies. The last White House LGBT liaison under Obama had said she was afraid this would happen.

  1. Protecting health care workers who don’t help transgender patients.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights created a division in January to protect health workers with moral or religious objections to performing certain procedures, including abortions or sex-reassignment surgery for transgender patients.

  1. Dropping its lawsuit against North Carolina’s anti-transgender law.

The Department of Justice dropped a lawsuit, which began under former president Obama, that challenged a North Carolina law that restricted transgender people’s use of bathrooms. The move last year came weeks after North Carolina lawmakers repealed part of the state’s anti-transgender law and replaced it with a different anti-LGBT law. Transgender people sued the state again, this time, without the Justice Department’s assistance.

  1. Retracting plans to count LGBT people in the Census.

Last year, the Trump administration retracted a proposal to collect demographic information on LGBT people in the 2020 Census. Critics say that not asking citizens about their sexual orientation and gender identity — like other characteristics — undermines the government’s ability to craft policies that serve LGBT people’s health, safety, and other needs. The Department of Health and Human Services, meanwhile, has also said that a survey of older Americans would no longer collect information on LGBT people.

 

 

Encyclopedia of American Loons

Curtis Knapp

Curtis Knapp is the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas, and he thinks the government should kill homosexuals. Quoting Scripture, Knapp said in 2012 that homosexuals “should be put to death. That’s what happened in Israel. That’s why homosexuality wouldn’t have grown in Israel. It tends to limit conversations. It tends to limit people coming out of the closet.” Being a sensible man, however, Knapp didn’t think you should just start going around killing gays: “‘So, you’re saying we should go out and start killing them?’ No. I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.” When confronted with his claims, Knapp pointed out that “We punish pedophilia. We punish incest, we punish polygamy and various things. It’s only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption.” Ah, distinctions. How the f*** do they work?

Diagnosis: No, Fred Phelps isn’t alone. Curtis Knapp has all of Phelps’s charisma and reasoning skills – and probably not much less impact.

Ken Klein

Ken Klein is an author (America, Globalism and the False Prophet), filmmaker and former NFL defensive back, and apparently not a POE. According to the WND – who is no more trustworthy than spam on these matters – Klein has “stunned viewers” with his DVD Trans-Humanism: Destroying the Barriers. Whatever he claimed in that one (and all evidence suggests that it can’t have been remotely related to anything reasonable), it probably doesn’t begin to compare to his next big report: That “fallen angels exist, are on Earth, and have been filmed …” Indeed. “It’s not a joke,” said Klein, in case anyone thought otherwise: “We have filmed these things in the infrared spectrum, and it’s really real, and it’s really happening on this planet, and it’s getting worse and worse,” he said. “Really real” is a common phrase used to emphasize your conclusions when your evidence is really good.

Apparently these fallen angels are visible in the infrared spectrum, and if you had doubts: “These are those angels that once followed Lucifer, who were deceived, woo’d by him with a great sales pitch, and as a result of that war God decided that he would have to be thrown out of his angelship. And he was thrown into this world, and he’s got billions of followers that are assigned to humanity – some to each human – to monitor each one of us, because each one of us is a potential threat. We shall be called children of God and he hates that because he’s been judged, and he’s not a happy camper.” He didn’t elaborate on the means he used to obtain the backstories of the demons he saw.

Oh, but he’s got more: “Jesus’ physical body had to be tailor-made through the development of generations of specific genes that would pass down to Mary and allow for the Immaculate Conception. It wasn’t just any body that the Spirit of God could dwell in. And so Jesus body came through a very specific line of predecessors. The integrity of His physical DNA was managed through the purity of a specific line of people all the way back to Adam […] I think we can expect the same thing to happen with the body that Lucifer will have to take, because we know that there will be an Antichrist who will be the embodiment of the spirit of Lucifer, who was an archangel. It can’t just be any body; it’s going to have to be an engineered body,” asserted Klein. And you see “Now we have the science to merge all kinds of brilliant scientists and thinkers into a genetic soup that could bring forth a superior intelligence [remember he made a DVD about transhumanism? You probably don’t need to watch it] – and not only that, but a superior body – that could house the spirit of Lucifer.” In other words, technology will unveil “a body that could house the spirit of Satan.” And thus it is that any true believer should beware of science. (At least Lucifer cannot be Obama, so that’s something.)

Klein was also interviewed for Brian Kraft’s The Fall of America and the Western World. His website is here. We are not sure whether he himself classifies the other books and DVDs he sells as fiction or documentaries. These include

– A DVD about the Harlot of Babylon, the identity of which can apparently be revealed by code breaking Revelation 17 (apparently there’s a yuge conspiracy, too).

– “Israel Islam and Armageddon,” a video showing “how the current peace process is fraught with peril, why it is impossible for Jerusalem to know true peace in our age how the Antichrist will lead the world’s armies to destroy Israel, the truth about the Vatican’s intentions, and the Palestinian myth.” Allegedly, the video “powerfully corrects” much of the “misinformation and propaganda” aggressively “advanced by the world media and others.”

He calls his youtube channel “Ken Klein University,” which doesn’t need a comment.

Diagnosis: You can do this one yourself, folks.

 John Kirkwood

Richard King, a central proponent of the the magic melanin theory who, because he viewed melanin as a necessary component of humanity, preferred to use term “hueman” rather than “human” to describe white people, has apparently passed away.

John Kirkwood, however, is still very much a Chicago pastor, (sigh) rabid anti-gay activist and co-host of the radio show Americans For Truth About Homosexuality Radio Hour, which – by extension of Badger’s Law – has nothing to do with truth. (AFTAH is Peter LaBarbera’s group). According to Kirkwood, gays and lesbians are like heroin users, and supporting gay rights is similar to encouraging a drug addict. In an interview with LaBarbera Kirkwood also attacked “the Lady Gaga theology that you were born that way,” pointing out that those who believe such things are “rejecting Kirkwood God” and “disagreeing with him rejecting the Bible.” (Obama, for instance.) Indeed, gay Christians are “satanically inspired,” according to Kirkwood, though for a rabid fundie like Kirkwood “x is satanically inspired” is just a substitute “I don’t fancy x.”

And of course, the gays are bringing America down. In fact, the “homosexual movement” is the “greatest threat to freedom” in the US, as far as Kirkwood is concerned; homosexuality “is a super sin because it reaches far beyond the bounds of what happens between two men or two women in their bedroom, it’s crushing our Constitution and it’s stripping us of our religious freedom, that sounds pretty super to me.” We are not entirely sure what the details and tacit premises of that inference are supposed to be, and suspect Kirkwood isn’t either. Regarding some openly LGBT judges in Cook County (“the adulterous judges of Cook County”), Kirkwood claimed that we “were better off when the Mafia ran Illinois because they were interested in making a profit, not making some kind of political statement that is totally abhorrent.” Of course, Kirkwood is officially very tired of the sexualization of America, even in the same paragraph where he states that Michael Sam’s “penchant for penis” is no cause for celebration. Hint: It’s not Michale Sam who is sexualizing this, John.

Diagnosis: It is hard to avoid concluding that Kirkwood is … well, extremely interested in and focused on gay sex. In addition to being a hateful fundie bigot, of course.

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

July 5, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

 

Conversation No. 62

Date: Tuesday, February 4, 1997

Commenced:  8:45 AM CST

Concluded:  9:30 AM CST

 

GD: Feeling a little better, Robert?

RTC: Much, thank you. By the way, Gregory, I dug up the information on this Landreth person you asked me about. He used to work for CBS News and his father ran our offices in Havana. Edward Landreth. Used Sterling Chemical Company as a front. I wouldn’t trust this one, if I were you.

GD: No, I didn’t like him at first sight. And he got some hack named Willwirth at Time Magazine to promise to put me on the cover of their trashy rag if I cooperated.

RTC: What do they want?

GD: Anything and everything relating to Mueller’s CIA employment. Anything with his new name, that is. I have an old Virginia driver’s license, a pilot’s license, an old CIA ID card and things like that.

RTC: Don’t even show them to them and keep the new name to yourself. The first thing they will do, and the Army as well, will be to get out the burn bags and totally obliterate any trace of him. You see, Mueller came in at such a high level and so early that his name is not known. Once your book came out, there were frantic searches of the files but they ran up against the dismal fact that they could not identify his new personality. Beetle Smith knew it, but he’s dead. Critchfield is foaming at the mouth over all of this, but he doesn’t have the name either. Wonderful. But take my advice and don’t give out the name. They would obliterate any trace of it and then piously deny they knew anything about it. Why not try the Army records in Missouri? List five or six names plus the Mueller pseudonym and get a researcher to get the copies of the files. Don’t use your name because you are on the no-no list now. Then, you can take the real Mueller out and toss the rest.

GD: Robert, how brilliant of you. I did this a year ago but I’m glad to see you’re right up on things.

RTC: Well, I know the name, you know the name, but Tom Kimmel and Bill Corson do not know the name. I assume both of them have asked you?

GD: Of course they have.

RTC: Not surprising. I like Bill but he had gone over to the other side, lock, stock and barrel, so use discretion with him. And you can be polite to Kimmel but shut up around him. Anything either one of them get would go straight to Langley.

GD: And the burning would commence.

RTC: Clouds of smoke would blanket the eastern seaboard, Gregory. Help keep America pollution free and keep your mouth closed. No, that’s not what I meant. Your mouth is not a source of pollution. The smoke from the burning CIA records is what I had in mind. What kind of approaches do they use?

GD: Kindergarten level. ‘We are going to make you famous,’ is the main one followed by such stupidity as ‘you can tell me because I’m your friend.’ With friends like that, who needs any enemies? I wouldn’t let any of them into my house. My grandfather would have had them use the tradesman’s entrance. They don’t do that anymore. One great homogenous melting pot of proletariat idiots, ill-educated twits, liars and chronic violators of deceased prostitutes.

RTC: (Laughter) Such an accurate portrayal, Gregory.

GD: It’s been quite an unwanted education, Robert, listening to all the foolishness coming out of these creeps. But, good humored banter aside, I wanted to discuss the Kennedy thing with you.

RTC: Go ahead.

GD: I have been reading through all the major books on the subject, and here and there I find something interesting. Mostly, only personal opinion without facts. But in looking through my notes, I am positive that your collective motives were based on what you thought was good for the country and the CIA, in opposite order.

RTC: Passing secrets to the enemy is very serious, Gregory.

GD: Yes, but Kennedy sacked your top people and was going to break the agency up. Self-preservation is a powerful motive for action.

RTC: Yes, it is. We had a similar problem with Nixon, as I recall.

GD: You weren’t planning to off him, were you?

RTC: No, but we did get him out of the Oval Office.

GD: I met Nixon once and I rather liked him. You? What about Watergate?

RTC: Watergate was our method of getting him out. It wasn’t as final as the Zipper business but he played right into it.

GD: What did Nixon do to you?

RTC: Now, that’s a long and involved story, Gregory.

GD: Well, since you didn’t have him killed, can you tell me?

RTC: I suppose so. Nixon was no specific threat to us, understand. We worked with him rather well. But he was getting squirrelly the second time around. And the China business was no good. China was our enemy and we had the best relations with Taipei….Taiwan. The very best relations, and very profitable. Nixon threw the entire thing out of balance and then the war in Vietnam was another factor. Very complex.

GD: I have plenty of time.

RTC: It was the drug business in the final analysis.

GD: There have been stories around about that.

RTC: Can’t be proven. We get curious reporters fired for even hinting at that. Anyway, it started in ’44-’45 with Jim’s Italian connections in Naples and Palermo.

GD: Angleton?

RTC: Yes, of course. Jim had lived in Italy as a child and spoke the language fluently. He knew the Mafia people in Sicily and the gangs in Naples, not to mention the Union Corse people in Corsica. I mean it was to get their assistance in intelligence matters. First against the Germans and then against the local Communists. Jim was very effective but I don’t think he realized that by asking for favors, he put himself in the position of having to give favors back again. That’s how they are, you know.

GD: I’ve known one or two. Yes, very much that way. Didn’t he realize he was making a bargain with the Devil?

RTC: No, Jim did not. The Italians he grew up with were not that way. I knew a few of those people through my father. He was involved in politics in Chicago in the old days and that means a guaranteed association with the Mob.

GD: And they called in their markers?

RTC: Oh, yes, they did. And that’s how the drug connections got started. The Italian gangsters helped Angleton when he was there with the OSS and then later, they called their markers in with him. Not much at first but much more later. Opium makes morphine and refined morphine makes heroin. You must know that. Turkey has opium fields and so do a number of places in SEA. Burma, for example. Once you get into that sort of thing, Gregory, you can’t get out again. And we comforted ourselves that the actual movers and shakers were doing the dirty work and, at the same time, assisting us with intelligence matters. Killing off enemies, securing sensitive areas and that sort of thing. Naples and Palermo to begin with and later Corsica. And then in Asia, Burma first. We were big supporters of Chiang and when the Commies forced him out of mainland China, he went to Taiwan and one of his top generals, Li Mi, went south with his military command and got into former French Indochina and then into Burma. He had a large contingent of troops, thousands, and both us and the French supplied him with weapons and he, in turn, set up opium farms and we, but not the French, flew out the raw products to be refined in the Mediterranean. The weapons were often surplus World War Two pieces out of Sea Supply in Florida. As a note for your interest, we shipped tons of former Nazi weapons from Poland to Guatemala when we kicked out Guzman there. You have to understand that the Company was huge and compartmented, so most of the people knew nothing about the drugs. Of course the various DCIs did and Colby, who later was DCI, ran the drug business out of Cambodia.

GD: The Air American thing?

RTC: Among others. We actually used official military aircraft to ship when we couldn’t use our own proprietary people. Angleton had mob connections and they used him far more than he used them, but he did not dare try to back out. It got way out of hand but none of us wanted to bell that cat, believe me. And we finally flew out Li Mi with thirteen millions in gold bars. Flew him to safety in Switzerland.

GD: That stopped the drugs?

RTC: No, it all came under new management. Colby was very efficient.

GD: As a point of interest here, Robert, is that why they snuffed him?

RTC: Partially. He knew too much and no one dared to gig him too hard over the civilian killings he ran in Vietnam. There was always the danger he would break down. He was getting along in years and that’s when we have to watch these boys carefully. A heart attack here, an accidental drowning there. After we drowned Colby, we tore his summer place to bits and then ransacked his Dent Place address. Not to mention getting our friendly bankers to let us go through his safe deposit boxes. After hours, of course.

GD: Of course. You weren’t involved, were you?

RTC: In what? Removing these dangerous people? In some cases. I had nothing directly to do with the drugs. That was mostly Angleton.

GD: He muse have gotten rich.

RTC: Not really.

GD: But Nixon….was he in the drug business too?

RTC: No. Nixon was a nut, Gregory. A poor boy elevated on high and couldn’t handle the upper levels. Very smart but got to believe his own power. The second election, a landslide, convinced him that he was invulnerable. He wasn’t and he began to play games with China. By playing nice with them, he outraged Taiwan and we all do much business with those people. Drugs and other things. Never mind all that, because it’s still going on. Anyway, they bitched to us, louder and louder, that Nixon would listen to Mao and dump them. If they got dumped, they would tell all and none of us could stand that, so we decided to get Nixon removed. No point of doing a Kennedy on him, but he had to go. After Spiro got the boot, Jerry Ford took over and we knew we would never have any problem with good old Jerry. Hell, during the Warren Commission, good old Jerry ran to Hoover every night with the latest information, so we knew he was a loyal player.

GD: And now did you do it?

RTC: Get rid of Tricky Dick? He did it to himself. We supplied him with a team of our men after we convinced him that everyone was plotting against him. I told you he was getting strange. I think paranoid is a better word. Anyway, we convinced him that McGovern was getting money from Castro and he sent our people to break into the Democrat offices in the Watergate. To get the proof that didn’t exist. They went there to get caught. They taped open the door and one of our people called local security. You know the rest, I am sure. Nixon did it to himself in the end. We just supplied the push. And Ford did what he was told and everyone was happy again.

GD: No wonder they call the stuff powdered happiness.

RTC: (Laughter) I haven’t heard that but it’s fitting. I remember we were afraid Nixon might call out the military, so we stuck Alex Haig in there to keep him isolated. Haig was a real nut but he did his job very well. And another government change, but this time there were no inconvenient questions about Oswald and Ruby types for the nut fringe to babble about. No, Nixon did it to himself.

GD: It didn’t do the country any good, this drawn-out death agony.

RTC: It would not have been a good idea to shoot him, not after the fuss after Kennedy. And Formosa is happy and we are happy and the drugs are still moving around, making everyone money. Just think what we were able to do with our share of mystery cash. No Congress to badger us about our budgets at all. We got billions from them and more billions in cash from the other stuff, so we were all sitting in the catbird seat. Nixon was one man and he had served his usefulness. Notice he’s had a nice retirement.

GD: And so has Ford.

RTC: Ford was a classic pawn. Washington is full of them, Gregory. And I strongly urge you to keep away from this subject if and when you decide to write about things. The Company is not as keen on killing everyone like it used to be, but I don’t think you want to run up against the Mob.

GD: No, of course not.

RTC: That’s a smart fellow, Gregory. Go after dead CIA people but keep away from the Mob. Got it?

GD: Got it loud and clear.

 

(Concluded at 9:30 AM CST)

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Conversations+with+the+Crow+by+Gregory+Douglas

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